A few years back I was delighted to interview Mark for his launch of The Shadow Fabric and I’m really happy that today I get to interview him on his next big release Hell Cat of The Holt. So let’s just get stuck in, shall we.
None of the Shadow Fabric mythos stories are easy to write, which is why it’s taken me so damn long to crack on with anything larger than shorts. I’ve gone out of my way to turn demonology and witchcraft on its head. Having been bored to death with the typical horror tropes onscreen and on page, I’ve made it difficult for myself by creating an entirely new take on history.
2 – Is this one just as dark and fascinating or if I dare hope, even darker?
Let’s put it this way: it’s a story of ghosts, a black cat sighting, and a demon. With a splash of gore around the edges, it sheds a dark light on the mythos we so far know. When you read it, I’ll let you make up your own mind.
3 – You’ve been very busy since the release of your first book, you having fun yet?
It’s all been fun so far. And it’s opening up endless new ventures. I’m travelling the UK and meeting fans, as well as gaining many new ones. Plus, I’m making a lot of connections in the industry.
In fact, I’ve recently been cast in a horror movie. Look out for Monster (2018), directed by fellow-author Matt Shaw who I met last year on the convention circuit. Since then, we’ve shared tables at several conventions, most recently Heroes and Villains in London.
It’s a Kickstarter project to which I’ve pledged, and so managed to bag a very exciting role. Incidentally, the script consultant is none other than Shaun Hutson whose work is one of the reasons why I first began writing. Namely SLUGS, and what a cracking book that is.
It started when accompanying Future Chronicles Photography at EM-Con a couple of years ago while I wrote the first SF stories for their ezine. From there it all kicked off, I was hooked.
Now, I get such a buzz when people approach my table having read my work. They want a selfie with me, or they get friends to photograph us; it’s an ego boost, I admit. I even had one young guy come along for a selfie because his teacher is a huge fan of my work, and he wanted to prove he’d met me.
At Walker Stalker, a couple of months ago, I met a new reader who by my knowledge is perhaps my youngest reader at ten years old. Her name’s Angel… who was so keen to read about the Shadow Fabric demons.
5 – Having not yet read Hell Cat of the Holt, I have to ask will I still be a fan of cats after I’ve read it?
Absolutely. That I can promise. Not only have I upended demonology and witchcraft, I’ve done precisely that with the local legend of a black cat sighting. Not all is what it seems when it comes to the fictitious village of Mabley Holt. And just what the domestic cats are up to, you’ll have to read the book to find out.
6 – Can you confirm or deny whether this book is the sequel you promised when I last interviewed you?
Not a direct sequel, but it does occur after THE SHADOW FABRIC novel. However, this new book can be read as a standalone story. Plus, it features a familiar character whose inclusion came as a surprise even to me. He kind of walked in on a scene, and pulled the story in a surprising direction that linked with a tale featured in SINISTER STITCHES. It was great to write about him again – a familiar face, no less!
I am, however, still piecing together – stitching, ha! – an actual sequel which will begin immediately after the final scene of THE SHADOW FABRIC.
Again, because of the complexities of the mythos itself, this is not an easy task.
7 – Now you have many short works and two longer pieces in the Shadow Fabric mythos, are you ready to move on to something else or are there still more tales to tell?
There is much ground to cover, and I mean that in the literal sense. Not only is the quaint British village of Mabley Holt rife with demon activity, but so too are many areas around the globe. I’ve several stories to tell which expand the mythos. One of which is another novella, DEVIL’S SKULL, set in Peru back in the 1980s.
Aside from the further unravelling of the Shadow Fabric mythos, I will one day write that steampunk universe of which I have too many scribbles. Also, there’s the continuing SF series CHAOS HALO with Future Chronicles Photography. We’ve yet to arrange that all-important photoshoot, where we’ll go on location somewhere derelict, ruined, certainly somewhere which portrays a suitable dystopian setting.
8 – Is writing your main job now-a-days or do you still have to do normal work like the rest of us?
Nah, I still teach a day or two every week. Gets me out of the house and clears my noodle. I do need some kind of human interaction because writing can be a very solitary occupation.
9 – Many writers battle with the editing process, for you is it a chore or a blessing?
It’s the biggest chore of writing and I hate it. My first draft is like a kid’s written it, then the big revision follows where I hack through it and shuffle scenes. After that, it’s time to make sure things run parallel with the whole mythos. That’s the tricky part. I don’t want any contradictions, you know?
10 – It was an Apocalypse question last time, this time because the weather is scorching as I write these questions, it’s going to be cold snack related: Magnum, Rocket Lolly or Ice Pole – which is your goto of choice when it’s toasty?
Rocket Lolly, every time. Can’t beat that! Damn, now I want one…
Mark Cassell lives in a rural part of the UK where he often dreams of dystopian futures, peculiar creatures, and flitting shadows. Primarily a horror writer, his steampunk, dark fantasy, and SF stories have featured in several anthologies and ezines. His best-selling debut novel THE SHADOW FABRIC is closely followed by the popular short story collection SINISTER STITCHES and are both only a fraction of an expanding mythos of demons, devices, and deceit.
Mark’s 2017 release HELL CAT OF THE HOLT further explores the Shadow Fabric mythos with ghosts and black cat legends.
The dystopian sci-fi short story collection CHAOS HALO 1.0: ALPHA BETA GAMMA KILL is in association with Future Chronicles Photography where he works closely with their models and cosplayers.
For one of Mark’s FREE stories go to: www.markcassell.com
Or visit the website: www.theshadowfabric.co.uk